As I traveled the Kings Hill Scenic Byway between Great Falls and White Sulphur Springs the other day I probably stopped a dozen times. I was able to take advantage of different light and conditions for the trip there and the trip back.
Each time I stopped my camera came out!
This photo is about midway on the scenic byway.
Belt Creek follows along much of US Hwy 89 and if I had worn better shoes, I may have done a few more steps to get a better photo angle. Needless to say, the shimmering water was a beautiful foreground to the golden leaves on the trees.
This area is truly a recreation mecca and it is right in the heart of the Little Belt Mountains. During the summer and fall you’ll see campers in the designated forest service campgrounds, a few fishermen and hikers.
Winter brings another recreation aspect to the area – all types of winter activities are available including downhill skiing at Showdown Ski Area, X-C skiing at Silver Crest Ski Area, snowshoeing and snowmobiling. In fact, there are over 200 miles of marked snowmobile trails along this byway. With easy access of US Hwy 89 and parking areas for vehicles and trailers, all that’s missing right now is the snow!
I took this photo on the return trip so I was driving north and had just crested Kings Hill Pass.
Some trivia about Kings Hill Pass – the elevation here is 7,393 feet and it is Montana’s highest mountain pass that is maintained year round. And, it’s where Showdown Ski Area is located.
The mountain prominently sitting in the background with the snow-capped peak is Big Baldy. I wasn’t sure of the name but Charley Willett from Showdown Ski Area confirmed that.
Charley also told me there are three hidden lakes on the other side of Big Baldy. He said there are photos of the lakes at Bob’s Bar in Neihart.
As you crest Kings Hill Pass you’ll see the bright sign for Showdown Ski Area on the west side of the highway – very easy to spot. The parking lots for the ski area are conveniently just off the highway.
You can also see the different runs at the ski area as you drive south of Kings Hill Pass.
This is a fun road to travel. My advice – plan some extra time to stop and explore.